Air Pollution Source: Outdoor Burning

plant based burning grand junction coOutdoor burning air pollution, Redlands, spring 2015.

The Grand Valley has had a long tradition of residential yard waste burning and agricultural field burning, which contributes to air pollution. What might have been an acceptable practice 50 years ago when the population was 50,000 people no longer works in a metropolitan area of over 150,000 residents and growing.

Residential burning

The 2019 Mesa County Nuisance rule makes it unlawful for residents throughout the county to burn waste, vegetative or otherwise, on their property unless they have 1 acre or more. Agricultural burning is an exception. Various methods of recreational and cooking fires are also allowed.

You can help make the new rule more meaningful by keeping an eye out for possible illegal burning. You can help in other ways:

  1. Obviously, if you burn, follow the new rules.
  2. If you see open burning that you suspect is illegal or dangerous, note the location and call 911 immediately.
  3. If you want to issue a complaint on a smoking fire during daytime business hours, call your local Fire Department. At night, call 911 – any and all nighttime burning is illegal and dangerous.
  4. Check the Purple Air Quality map on our Home Page for pollution days and adjust your outdoor activities accordingly.

See a brief summary of the new Mesa County rules here:

Mesa County rules were modeled on the City of Grand Junction Ordinance No. 4733. passed in 2017, prohibiting open burning within City limits on properties of less than one acre, and defining how burns should be conducted on larger properties. Now, both the city and county rules are the same, with a few exceptions.

See a summary of the City of Grand Junction rules along with recreational and cooking fire instructions at:

It is never legal to burn trash either in an indoor fireplace or an outdoor open burn. Burning trash creates dioxins, which can contaminate the soil around the burn area and be carried upwind to contaminate your neighbors soil as well.

Agricultural field burning

Farm operators must get a permit from the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office


When we know better, we have the opportunity to do better!

"If You Can Smell Smoke, You're Breathing Smoke"